Some people look like they have it all – heaps of money, flashy houses, cars and fabulous holidays but we often don’t see what is going on in the background. While it may seem that they have it all they could be going further and further into debt and taking their health and relationships down with them. Making life look different to what’s really going on is the surest path away from fulfilment.
Twenty years ago we bought an old house for $500,000. It would have been easier – given we had two babies – to renovate before we moved in but we decided to live in the house during the renovation. For three years we lived with the noise, mess and disruption. When it was finished we had spent $300,000, created a spectacular home and increased the house’s value to $1,600,000. I learnt from an early age, plus add in 15 years experience in real estate sales, that one successful strategy was to buy smart and sell smart as the way to build wealth.
This time we made the decision to do what was financially smart – sell the house to clear our debt and reinvest the profit. Many of our friends and family thought we were crazy because we had worked so hard on the house and we were letting it go and moving on. But for us, it was crazy to stay. The decision was about long-term fulfilment over short-term satisfaction and ego. Our plan was still to have a dream home, but one we owned and this meant waiting longer.
On the subject of ego Eckhart Tolle says, “Because of its phantom nature, and despite elaborate defence mechanisms, the ego is very vulnerable and insecure, and it sees itself as constantly under threat. This, by the way, is the case even if the ego is outwardly very confident.”
After decades of investing and mentoring others on how to have their best lives, I’ve noticed the true wealthy live within their means and start off small – a modest house, a modest car and they work hard to build their wealth. They don’t live beyond their means and are always trying to maximise their income and returns – they spend less than they earn, they save and invest. They stick to a plan and worry less about short-term comforts and keeping up appearances but more about long- term fulfilment.
So don’t worry about keeping up with the Jones’ – think long and start small so you can live your truth and enjoy the fruits of your labours.